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Jesus in the Minnows

Jesus in the Minnows

A Catholic Beat Memoir

By David Craig

216 pp

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About the Book

This is a memoir, yes, fictionalized (as all of them are in some way) because the facts don’t matter nearly as much here as the Holy Spirit who moves the furniture, the physical world, and everything in it. This unvarnished book tries to do more than offer a happy or easy conversion. It foregrounds the Beat movement too, a movement that has long been way station and home to many excellent Catholic poets. The list is a long one: Kerouac, Merton, Everson, Fabilli, Berrigan, Baxter, Kavanagh, Levertov, Murray, Mariani, Karr, and Mistral. Not to mention song writers: Cohen, Springsteen, Waits; and if we’re willing to stretch it a little, Dylan and Mitchell.  The form, its openness and incompleteness, are perfect vessels. Jesus in the Minnows tries to bring these things together: a living Jesus, the author’s on-going conversion, and his Beat vocation as poet and teacher. The reader will also find that humility, wisdom, mushrooms, and humor have come along to make it an interesting road trip.


Jesus in the Minnows is an intensely poetic and moving meditation on the mysteries of redemption. Evoking memories of a bygone era when youth seemed eternal and spiritual realities more accessible, David Craig’s heartfelt narrative is sure to entrance its readers.”


author of Waiting for Snow in Havana, winner of the National Book Award, and the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University


“What a powerful narrative David Craig gifts us with in his aptly titled Jesus in the Minnows: A Catholic Beat Memoir. With wit, humor, honesty, learning, and his Catholic faith (and family) he brings to life the modern dilemma of the yawning hell we too often find or place ourselves in. But, just as convincingly, he shows us one man’s purgatorial way out of that hell into a God-centered world to be found in the holiness of the quotidian, scintillant, and upbeat in a way the Beats could only dream of.”


author of All That Will Be New: Poems and winner of the John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry


“Driven by desires he could neither name nor obtain on his own, yet drawn by the mysterious pull of a grace whose attractions will define both his art and his life, David Craig recounts in this rollicking memoir the journey of a self in ultimate search of God. ‘We are,’ he rightly exclaims, ‘the glorious syllables/ Of God, Him speaking in tongues.’ And each of us is asked to give voice to the search, learning along the way ‘to show ourselves more mercy as we age, as God, who all along has been doing the heavy lifting, begins to get His slow way.’ There is so much to be grateful for, he tells us, amid the minnows where Jesus may be found, and for readers of this book there is much gratitude for his having written it. It is marvelously told.”


author of Raising Lazarus and Professor of Dogmatic and Systematic Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville

About the Author

DAVID CRAIG taught literature and creative writing at the Franciscan University of Steubenville for more than 30 years. These days he tries to sharpen what’s left for him to do, serving his family, working poems, a novel. His wife, in the meantime, amid all of her interests (painting, sewing, classical piano), has surprisingly taken an interest in Stan Getz—whose music is currently playing in the kitchen.

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